Getting Buzzed on Coffee Every Day May Decrease Skin Cancer Risk: Study

January 22, 2015 Updated: July 18, 2015

A study has found an association between drinking coffee and a decrease in the most serious of skin cancers, melanoma.

In the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the study said drinking as much as four cups of coffee per day could cut the risk in melanoma by 20 percent, compared with those who didn’t. The study noted a correlation between drinking more coffee and a reduced risk in the disease.

Now, it’s probably not the greatest idea to drink a minimum of four cups of coffee per day because for some, it can cause insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, stomach problems, a fast heartbeat, muscle tremors, and irritability. However, that has more to do with the amount of caffeine you consume as each cup and blend of coffee varies.

Decaffinated coffee was not associated with the same benefits, the authors said. “However, the effect was statistically significant for caffeinated but not decaffeinated coffee and only for protection against malignant melanoma but not melanoma in-situ, which may have a different etiology,” they wrote.

The researchers used dietary and health data for 447,357 non-Hispanic whites who were cancer-free during the start of the study before following them for 10 years. The study found 2,904 cases of melanoma.

“The highest category of coffee intake was inversely associated with malignant melanoma,” reads an abstract of the study.

“Higher coffee intake was associated with a modest decrease in risk of melanoma in this large US cohort study. Additional investigations of coffee intake and its constituents, particularly caffeine, with melanoma are warranted,” the researchers concluded.

The study also controlled for smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, age, sex, and other factors.

Authors of the study noted that there’s other unknown variables that could explain the reduce in melanoma.

“Because of its high disease burden, lifestyle modifications with even modest protective effects may have a meaningful impact on melanoma morbidity,” the researchers conclude, according to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

More research is needed into coffee’s correlative effect on melanoma, they also said.

Erikka Loftfield, M.P.H., who is with the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute, and her colleagues used data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.